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At assisted living facility ordered closed, residents scramble for new homes but CEO is ‘gone’

Updated: Apr. 28, 2021 at 10:24 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Residents of a senior living community in Hauula are frantically moving out after the state ordered the company to shut down.

Various agencies are offering residents help, but the facility’s management has remained silent.

Earlier this month, the state Health Department revoked the license for Dignity Senior Living at Oceanside Hawaii in Hauula and ordered the assisted living facility to shut down by Friday.

Bartholomew “Leo” Leopoldo, 54, has lived at Oceanside for three years and is moving on Friday to a Makakilo care home.

[Related coverage: Families left scrambling after state orders shutdown of Hauula assisted living facility]

“I’m going to miss everybody. It’s hard to keep on moving and moving,” said Leopoldo, as he wiped tears from his face.

“The case managers are here just scrambling for places for everybody,” he added.

In closing the facility, the state cited caregiver neglect and “residents at risk of harm without immediate corrective action.”

The issues go back years.

A 2014 state inspection found health, welfare and safety of the residents were at risk. In 2015, inspectors found inadequate training and a urine smell in a common area.

“Cleanliness. Hygiene. It’s very not appropriate,” said a resident, who did not want to be identified.

John McDermott, the state’s long-term care ombudsman, McDermott says other senior homes like Lunalilo Home and Palolo Chinese Home have offered to house the residents.

No one from the Oceanside facility is responding.

“The facility just has a financial incentive to just get them out so we don’t have to pay this fine,” McDermott said.

“The cavalry is showing up and we are still having a communication breakdown.”

Leopoldo also described the management as “gone.”

“The management over here, we try to talk to them, but they are not around,” he said.

CEO Albert Chen has been ignoring questions from Hawaii News Now as well.

“Albert Chen, I don’t know where you are. If it was my facility and I was in China, I would jump in a row boat and start paddling because you need to be here to get this under control,” McDermott said.

The Healthcare Association of Hawaii says Oceanside is not one of its members, but it is working with the state Department of Health and assisted living facilities to find new homes for residents.

“It’s very troubling when a facility like this would cause the Department of Health to have the level of concerns that they have. We do want to ensure that these residents receive the best possible care,” said Hilton Raethel, president and CEO of Healthcare Association of Hawaii.

The state Health Department says Oceanside has filed an appeal, which generally extends the time it can operate and that process can take weeks.

McDermott adds there is also a care home for dementia patients on the sprawling property. He says that side of the facility is not shutting down.

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